Make Your Own and Save

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Some products just aren't worth the money consumers pay for brand names and store packaging. Instead, make your own and save money. Here are a few recipes for common household items that can be made for less. In fact, ask the kids to help and make a family activity out of it as well.

Windex Window Cleaner

Avoid the pricey label and make your own window and surface cleaner.

  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol
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  • 1 tsp. Joy dishwashing soap

Mix all together. Then, add enough water to equal a gallon of the mixture. Store and use.

Playdoh

There are several recipes, but this one is the most popular. Remember to store your finished products in airtight containers for long shelf life. Make the colors match the season and whip up a new batch whenever the original loses its texture.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • food coloring of choice

Combine ingredients into a saucepan and continually stir while cooking until the dough leaves the side of the pan. Remove from heat and continue stirring until it begins to set. Let cool and store.

Laundry Soap

Create a large batch of this for pennies of what it costs in the store.

  • 5.5 oz. of Fels Naphtha bar soap
  • 4 cups of water

Cook over low heat while stirring. Do not allow it to boil. Transfer it to a large container or bucket and add 3 gallons of hot tap water. Stir until all is dissolved. Then, add 1 cup of washing soda available in the laundry aisle. Mix well. Allow it to set overnight until it becomes gel. Stir it before each use. Approximately 3/4 cup should be used for each load.

Plant Fertilizer

Save on pricey fertilizers by using unflavored Knox instead. It can't be your only source of fertilizer because is lacks several nutrients, but it does contain nitrogen which will give plants the energy they need. Avoid regular gelatins because the sugars in them can harm the plant's water absorption.

October 16, 20060 found this helpful

thank you for your cleaning recipes. i am trying to save money and learn how to be frugal. this is going to help me save money. sue

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October 17, 20060 found this helpful

Actually there is nothing I can't clean with either vinegar, bleach or ammonia. [never add bleach and ammonia together] I think that plain ole vinegar would clean glass just as well. Tear off a few sheets of plain old newspaper to wipe the vinegar off and shine the glass. I never throw plastic spray bottles away. I rinse them out and add my cleaning supplies listed above.

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October 17, 20060 found this helpful

Thanks to a reader, I realized that the web page didn't take my fraction for the amount of laundry soap to use per load. The blank line should read 3/4 (three quarter) cup of soap mix for each average load. This soap doesn't foam the way store bought detergent does, so keep that in mind while adjusting your amount.

St. Louis Bob, I thought about writing this entire article about vinegar. My grandmother swears by it, and it can clean anything! Maybe it will be an "up and coming."

Thanks for reading!

Kelly

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